Slip and fall accidents in Florida depend primarily on the facts of a claim and can become very complex very quickly. Because of this, slip and fall claims are all unique in their own ways, and there are no “templates” for successfully establishing such claims.
Read on as the Florida personal injury lawyers answer and explain the six most common questions that are asked about slip and fall lawsuits.
What is a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Slip and fall lawsuits stem from accidents where a victim slips and is injured by unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. Occasionally referred to as “slip, trip, and fall” accidents, they are among the most common, if not the most common, types of accidents experienced by victims on other people’s property. These lawsuits are based on what is known as “premises liability.”
The accidents that lead to slip and fall injuries are caused by unsafe conditions on the property in question. So, for example, if you are at a gas station market and trip over an empty box, or slip on a wet area that has no warning sign posted, you may be able to sue for your resulting injuries.
Who is Responsible for My Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip and fall accidents are often due to the negligence of the property owner. If this is the case, the property owner or the property manager can be held responsible for your injuries and any damages that you sustain due to the fall. Aside from your legal claim, you may also be able to seek compensation through their insurance policy.
How Long Do I Have To Sue the Property Owner or Manager?
Like most lawsuits, there is a time limit by which you must file your claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, for any type of personal injury claim, including premises liability claims, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident, although there may be relevant exceptions.
For example, not all injuries are immediately symptomatic, and injuries may not be noticed until weeks or even months after the accident. In this case, a victim may be able to extend the start of the limitation until the victim notices or should have noticed the existence of the injury. Nonetheless, after the time limit is reached, any claims by the victim may be time-barred by the court.
Are Property Owners Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents on Personal Property or Commercial Property?
Both. In Florida, private property can be either personal and commercial. No matter how the private property is being used, property owners are legally required to maintain safe conditions for visitors who enter the premises, and the duties of property owners change according to what type of visitor has been injured; i.e., what the purpose of the visit was.
How Serious Are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents are not as insignificant as the name may suggest. In fact, they can be quite common, and quite serious. According to the Nation Floor Safety Institute (NFSI):
- Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men.
- Falls account for over eight million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits or 12% of total falls.
- Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
- Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
- According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
- Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall. Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation.
- Of all fractures from falls, hip fractures are the most serious and lead to the greatest health problems and number of deaths.
Because of the high percentage of the elderly in Florida, slip and fall accidents are particularly concerning. If you’re caring for an elderly relative or friend, it’s incumbent upon you to take extra precautionary steps for prevention.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and always catch the victim off-guard. The two primary areas for slip and fall accidents are the workplace and the home. They may also occur in the homes and apartments of friends or family members, in business establishments, in parking lots, at sporting or concert events, on sidewalks, in parks or other recreational establishments or areas, at swimming pools, on boats, or literally wherever people are walking or running.